Boosting the next generation of satellites

30th November 2015
Posted By : Joe Bush
Boosting the next generation of satellites

Society in the 21st Century is becoming increasingly connected, with vast amounts of data being transferred around the world. The concept of ‘Big Data’ is becoming a hot topic. Satellites for communication, remote sensing, navigation and scientific investigations are generating a deluge of information for a variety of applications, all of which must find its way down to the ground efficiently and effectively.

Furthermore, projects such as Google’s Loon, OneWeb or Facebook’s droned-based ‘internet in the sky’ stand as a testament to the upcoming paradigm shift in high speed communications, fundamentally changing the face of how we stay connected around the world and beyond.

The design of satellites follows, at present, a fixed pattern based on existing and proven technologies and the requirements of the payload or an experiment within the constraints of weight, volume and power available. The advances in optoelectronic components and systems open up a new dimension in designing satellites of the future, incorporating new technologies that will ensure the success of the German and European satellite industry.

Launched under the motto ‘Satellite 4.0’ INNOspace Masters is seeking technologies from the optoelectronics industry to boost the next generation of satellites. For the first time the space industry is awarding prizes to new ideas and concepts that offer innovative solutions and provide fresh perspectives such as from the laser and optoelectronics industry.

The Bavarian company, ViaLight Communications, is already producing communication systems for future networks in space - networks that will keep big data on the move and delivered to its destination as quickly as possible. By bringing wireless laser communication systems out of the laboratory and into the mainstream commercial market, ViaLight is meeting the needs of today’s increasingly demanding satellite communications market through its portfolio of small, lightweight systems delivering gigabit data rates over distances of thousands of kilometres.

“ViaLight’s Free-Space Optical Communication Technology represents the kind of solution we are looking for in the optoelectronics industry, to bring high value to the satellite industry,” explained Thorsten Rudolph, CEO of INNOSpace Masters organiser Anwendungszentrum Oberpfaffenhofen.

“Only through the use of such cutting edge innovations can we face the challenges of the transitional phase the aerospace industry is experiencing at the moment and ensure long term innovative capability and competitiveness.” explained Dr Gerd Gruppe, Director of DLR Space Administration.

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